Charcoal Memories

Drawing One Memory A Day For 100 Days

Most of us probably wish we could give up our mundane day job and dedicate our life to the thing we love doing most: Teresa Esgaio did just this. Last year she quit her job in television advertising and retreated to the sanctuary of her studio to draw full-time: she swapped budgets and briefs for charcoal, soft pastels and graphite powder.

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Her latest series, An Elephant Never Forgets, is a 100-day project with each day dedicated to a different memory from Teresa’s past. It is not only an illustrated series but a diary, a visual recording of the little things in life that we wish we could remember but end up being enveloped in the endless ongoings of our existences.

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The beauty of each drawing, each begun and completed within it’s dedicated day, is the simplicity of the memory – they are so wonderfully open to interpretation. From the branch of a tree to a pineapple, Teresa paints from her own memories but allows enough space for the observer to project their own life onto the piece.

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She documents the series on a daily basis on her Instagram, keeping her followers up-to-date with the creative process behind each jarringly life-like creation. Her account serves as a reminder that we should endeavour to remember that which is easiest to forget.

The Plus: Tell us a little bit more about yourself?
Teresa Esgaio:
I am a full-time artist, I worked as a TV commercial producer for 5 years, until last year when I quit to draw full-time. I never had the time to draw and when I turned 30 and I thought “it’s now or never” – it had to be now.

TP: How did you start this series?
TE:
I was working on large drawings before that were taking me one or two weeks to finish. At one point I needed a different routine so I focused on a daily challenge that allowed me to start and finish one drawing each day. This is how the idea for this series came up. I downsized the scale of the drawings then and set a goal: 100 drawings in 100 days.

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TP: How many images have you have drawn so far, and how often do you update the series?
TE:
Today was the 24th day, so I’ve completed 24 drawings so far. Everyday I post one picture of the process and then the final one version to my Instagram.

TP: How do you decide on the subjects you draw?
TE:
I learn a lot from every illustration and I never forget what I draw. So I decided to put together a list of little memories from my life that I wanted to remember: objects, sentences, a smell, a landscape and many little things I would like not to forget. I draw one each day: it’s as if I’m a competition with the elephant, elephants never forget.

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TP: Why are the final images in black and white colour?
TE:
As I work in black and white, it just makes sense to me to use black and white pictures.

TP: What do you enjoy the most during the whole process?
TE:
Having a blank paper waiting for me everyday.

TP: You also work on video and photography, what else you have been working on lately?
TE:
As I mentioned before, I used to work in the advertising business but for now I am just 100% committed to the drawing.

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